Arati Kreibich is raising money off the House’s vote to eliminate the deadline to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment, but her fundraising pitch doesn’t mention Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-Wyckoff) co-sponsored the measure and voted for it this morning.
In an email appeal that says “women are tired of waiting for the ERA,” Kreibich says that she has “waited my entire life of the ERA.”
Gottheimer signed on as a co-sponsor of the ERA resolution in August.
New Jersey ratified the Equal Rights Amendment in 1971.
In the same fundraising email, Kreibich cites the historically low number of women who have represented New Jersey in Congress – a talking point in her online fundraising – but doesn’t say that the seat she is seeking was held by a woman for 22 years.
New Jersey’s record of women in Congress
Marge Roukema (R-Ridgewood) represented the 5th district from 1981 to 2003, the second-longest serving congresswoman in New Jersey history.
Rep. Mary T. Norton (D-Jersey City) served in the House from 1925 to 1951.
New Jersey has elected 307 men and 7 women to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives.
So you don’t have to reach for a calculator, that’s 97.8% men and 2.2 % women. If you start the clock in 1922 — the first election a woman was eligible to run in New Jersey – it’s 111 men and seven women (94%-6%).
Between 2003 and 2015, the New Jersey congressional delegation was all men. That streak began following the retirement of Roukema and ended after Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-Ewing) was elected in 2014.
The election of Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-Montclair) put two women in the state’s congressional delegation for the first time since 1981 and 1982, when Roukema and Millicent Fenwick (R-Bernardsville) served together.
Fenwick and Rep. Helen Meyner (D-Phillipsburg) served in the House from 1975 until Meyner lost her seat in 1978.
Only one other woman has represented New Jersey in Congress: Florence Dwyer (R-Elizabeth) from 1957 to 1973.
New Jersey has never had more than two women in the congressional delegation at the same time.
It’s possible that the number could jump even higher.
In addition to Kreibich, there are women running for Congress in five other New Jersey districts.
Rep. Andy Kim (D-Marlton) faces a formidable challenge from Republican Kate Gibbs, a former Burlington County freeholder, in the 3rd district. Gibbs could be the first GOP woman in the New Jersey House delegation since Roukema retired eighteen years ago.
In the 2nd district, Brigid Callahan Harrison, Amy Kennedy and Ashley Bennett are seeking the Democratic nomination to challenge Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R-Dennis).
Former U.S. Department of State official Stephanie Schmid and former United Nations staffer Christine Conforti are seeking the Democratic nomination to run against Rep. Christopher Smith (R-Hamilton), the lone Republican in the New Jersey congressional delegation. The 4th district has become even more Republican since Smith won his 20th term in 2018.
Claire Gustafson, a former Collingswood Board of Education member, is seeking the GOP nomination to challenge Rep. Donald Norcross (D-Camden). After just one week in the race, she won the Burlington Republican organization line against Josh Duvall, whose been campaigning for six months.
In the 9th district, clean energy investor Zina Spezakis is mounting a primary fight against Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-Paterson). Pascrell is one of North Jersey’s most popular politicians.
Of the seven women who have represented New Jersey in the U.S. House of Representatives, three of them defeated male incumbents.
Dwyer unseated Rep. Harrison Williams (D-Plainfield) in 1956; he won an open U.S. Senate seat two years later. Meyner defeated Rep. Joseph Maraziti (R-Boonton) in 1974, and Roukema took out Rep. Andy Maguire (D-Ridgewood) in 1980.